System Notes

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Simi Valley: Comcast Corp.'s Comcast Cablevision
announced a 46 percent price increase for its "Value Pak" tier here, to $6.25
per month from $4.27, according to the Los Angeles Times. The tier includes
American Movie Classics, Fox Family Channel, The History Channel and TBS Superstation.
Comcast, however, also plans to lower its prices for installation and maintenance
insurance. "We certainly don't like to raise rates," John Jackson, the system's
general manager, told the Times. "With the Value Pak, which is the largest
increase, our programming costs went up that much. After the increase, complete basic
service, including the Value Pak, will rise by nearly 7 percent, to $34.74 per month from
$32.49. In accordance with Federal Communications Commission regulations, a consultant is
examining Comcast's proposal, but local authorities only have the authority to regulate
the basic tier.


Northern Kentucky: The Northern Kentucky
Telecommunications Authority's proposed fiber optic communications system, which has been
in the planning stages for nearly three years, may be scrapped before serving a single
customer, according to the Kentucky Enquirer. Negotiations with Tamkin Fiber on
project financing and management broke down late last month, Marc Bergman, chairman of the
NKTA's advisory committee, told the Enquirer. No further discussions were planned.
The 11 cities represented by the NKTA are Bellevue, Crescent Springs, Dayton, Edgewood,
Elsmere, Erlanger, Fort Thomas, Fort Wright, Lakeside Park, Newport and Taylor Mill.

In other area news, the Telecommunications Board of
Northern Kentucky approved a new, stricter set of guidelines covering public-access
programming, as reported by the Kentucky Post. Under the guidelines, not only are
legally obscene materials banned, but the rules also extend to programs that could be
offensive due to gratuitous sex, violence, nudity, or profanity. "Before, there were
no specific guidelines for people to use when judging what would be played," board
member Tom Litzler told the Post. Programming that doesn't satisfy the new
guidelines can still be aired between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.


Dearborn Heights: The City Council here unanimously
approved a motion last month asking the city's Cable Commission to request that MediaOne
Group Inc. reconsider its new pricing plan, which took effect earlier this month,
according to the Detroit News. MediaOne increased its basic rate by 99 cents per
month. The operator has referred the Cable Commission's request to its attorney.


Houston: Warner Cable here angered already-upset
subscribers by implementing channel switches that were planned for New Year's Day three
days earlier, according to the Houston Chronicle. Warner dropped Food Network,
added four networks and changed some channel slots. A Warner representative told the Chronicle
that the operator made the changes earlier to ensure that there were no problems on New
Year's Day, the biggest day for college-football viewing. The four networks added by
Warner were Animal Planet, Home & Garden Television, MSNBC and Travel Channel.